Breaking: Susan Rice withdraws from consideration as Secretary of State

posted at 3:58 pm on December 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

Did she fall on her own sword or did the White House hand her one?

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.

“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News…

In her letter to Obama, Rice took aim at her GOP critics.

“The position of secretary of state should never be politicized,” she wrote, adding, “I’m saddened that we have reached this point, even before you have decided whom to nominate. We cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.”

NBC will have an interview with her tonight at 10 p.m. ET. Needless to say, this makes Kerry the prohibitive favorite at State; when Scott Brown told the Senate yesterday that he and they may “meet again,” he wasn’t kidding. How’s next year sound?

Updates are coming. Stand by.

Update: Obama’s reaction:

While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first,” Obama said. “The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”

She’ll stay on as ambassador to the UN.

Update: Thought of the day:

Update: I don’t think it was Republican opposition to her over Benghazi that forced her out. Obama signaled repeatedly that he was prepared to stand by her on that; lefty media churned out plenty of “I don’t get what the big deal is!!!” pieces in her defense over the last month too. Liberals would have lined up behind her on Libya with plenty of demagoguery about racism and sexism to help push her through. I think it was the other stuff that convinced her or the White House or both that this wasn’t worth the headaches — the endless whispering about her undiplomatic temperament, the conflict-of-interest concerns about her investments in companies behind the Keystone pipeline, and the criticism of her alleged “sympathy” for some of Africa’s tyrants. If her confirmation had been a pure referendum on Benghazi, Senate Democrats probably would have gone to bat for her. But if it’s not a pure referendum, if it’s Benghazi plus three or four other weak spots, then maybe a handful would defect and suddenly O’s looking at a major humiliation to start his second term.

Update: The MSNBC spin is already set. Mitchell nods at it in passing, but the rest of the line-up will spend the rest of the day breathing heavily about it. Click the image to watch.

Update: So this explains the timing of the Hagel news this afternoon. Kerry had been touted as a possibility at State or Defense; once the White House knew (or decided) that Rice was out of contention, Kerry became the obvious pick at State and Hagel could then be put forth for the Pentagon.

I wonder if this now means Hagel’s confirmation hearing will be more contentious than thought. I figured Obama and the GOP would each be willing to spend political capital on one major clash over a cabinet nominee next year. Rice’s nomination would have been it; instead, Kerry will now sail through. Which means, if there’s to be a fight, it may be a fight over Hagel. Per James Antle, Obama might like that just fine.

Update: Jim Geraghty reminds us that the next Secretary of State is simply terrible on foreign policy.

Update: Sure is:

You can knock Rice for not being more skeptical and inquisitive when the White House was feeding her those ill-fated CIA talking points for her Sunday show appearances on Benghazi, but her big sin here is essentially being too much of a stooge for the White House — a far, far lesser sin than those committed by Hillary and the crack State diplomatic security team in leaving Chris Stevens unprotected. Rice was being an awfully good soldier to serve as that stooge back then and she’s being an awfully good soldier in helping Obama out of a jam by “withdrawing” now. I wonder how he’ll reward her. Michael Tomasky thinks she’ll probably end up as National Security Advisor, a post that doesn’t require Senate approval. Likely right.

Update: BuzzFeed accuses Obama of “weakness”:

“Susan Rice is essentially a repeat of Gitmo in 2009,” a former Obama Administration official emailed moments after Susan Rice withdrew her name for Secretary of State Thursday afternoon. “You have to give up on her because the politics are so bad that the White House thinks it can’t win. But the politics are so bad because they spent too long not fighting for it and instead just watching things get worse. Self-fulfilling.”

How did they not fight for her? Obama rose to Rice’s defense and explicitly challenged McCain and Graham at a press conference over their criticism of her. Democratic members of Congress held a separate presser to accuse Republicans of racism and sexism in criticizing her. As noted above, the left surely would have lined up for her if she was nominated, although whether that would have been enough to hold the line in the Senate is questionable. Obama didn’t show weakness in having her withdraw, he showed contempt for her back in September by making her the designated stooge for a dubious narrative about the attack that she had nothing whatsoever to do with. She might very well have been confirmed if not for her Benghazi TV appearances, and now her life’s ambition has been thwarted in part because O pushed her into the line of political fire needlessly. If you’re a liberal and want to be angry about something, be angry about that.

Update: Surprise:

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First, my commitment to public service is rooted in the belief that our nation’s interests must be put ahead of individual ones. I’ve devoted my life to serving the United States and trying to mend our imperfect world. That’s where I want to focus my efforts, not on defending myself against baseless political attacks.

Gag me Susan.

Rovin on December 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

So what? It’ll only be some other Obama flunky-maybe Winter Soldier John Kerry-the Savior of Cambodia.

MaiDee on December 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

***************** EXCELLENT ***********************

1 Less Progressive!!

canopfor on December 13, 2012 at 9:52 PM

…It inclines me to believe that even our worst speculations on what happened in Benghazi might not be bad enough, and it inclines me to hope that Obama might be more vulnerable on the subject than we think. (Given all the other stuff he’s pulled during his presidency, for him to think he wouldn’t be able to weather the storm a close look at Benghazi might raise, even with the protection of the press, is rather telling.)

butterflies and puppies on December 13, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Yes. I suspect Benghazi is more sinister than we have imagined, and I’m beginning to think that way about anything this sorry joke of a president is involved with. He’s a profoundly evil yet stupid man.

slickwillie2001 on December 13, 2012 at 9:53 PM

She seems so…icy. I hope she spills some serious beans on O!

PattyJ on December 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM

You keep telling yourself that.
(Ha! I do hope you get that.)

verbaluce on December 13, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Excellent comeback!
Seriously, I’ll bet even you don’t get the hiprocracy in your post.

ccrosby on December 13, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Some fun over at on some leaked info from a IPCC fraud research paper.

How the commies hold up the massive lies is a new world wonder.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on December 13, 2012 at 11:05 PM

The more I learned about her past performance the more incompetent she appeared, so this is for the best. We don’t need a Secretary of State who is confused about who our enemies are.

OxyCon on December 14, 2012 at 12:12 AM

How does Andrea Mitchell sleep at night?

IlikedAUH2O on December 13, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Next to a corpse

Schadenfreude on December 14, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Finally, the nearly perfect blend of incompetence and dissimulation will have to bow to the political needs of the most anti-American administration since Franklin Pierce.

AshleyTKing on December 14, 2012 at 1:14 AM

A special lift cargo plane with an team of crack elephant handlers from South Africa will pick up Rosie O’Donnell and take her to where the object is expected to impact so it will bounce off Rosie and back into space. The planners anticipate there is a 77% chance she will stick to the object post-bounce phase and be carried into space with the deflected object.

lexhamfox on December 14, 2012 at 2:14 AM

Pimpin’ for O gets you the boot.

Good riddance to a sleazeball.

profitsbeard on December 14, 2012 at 3:32 AM

My take.

kingsjester on December 14, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Wait, do you hear that? Its 2 women roaring with laughter – Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton.

tommy71 on December 14, 2012 at 7:19 AM

As for predicting that John Kerry is next in line? John Kerry does not work as hard as Hilary Clinton, we hardly know he is here in MA.

It would be nice to think that Scott Brown can get elected in another special election, we don’t know if it is true, but in the meantime you would either get Duval appointing himself, or some other really annoying democrat from MA to fill the spot.

I think if Kerry were to be appointed it would be a “formal” position, and ceremonial. He talks a lot of NPR nonsense, and would probably be a lot like the Susan Rice/UN philosophy.

And Kerry is not used to working very hard, it is hard to know if that is a minus or a plus. Basically, republicans would be without anyone minding the store, for the important things, and the state department would be all about superficial symbolic things that democrats love and republicans think is a waste of money.

Mrs. Clinton has increased the spending there on stupid things and even more stupid new protocols, by a huge amount, and did not care about the security of the ambassador in Benghazi. Yah vote for her for president. Whatever are they thinking?

Fleuries on December 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM

There is little doubt Ms. Rice is the “fall-guy” for this administration. But make no mistake she equally shares the blame with Mr. Obama.

We’ve been told how brilliant Ms Rice is and her career offers little refutation. So it would be somewhat counter intellectual to think she was not familiar with facts, policies and the Presidents political desires. Given that landscape, Ms. Rice provided statements in full realization of the truths and flaws. Whatever the reasons or administration directives, she proceeded to strongly promote the political story.

That not only shows poor judgment, but an inability to adhere to facts and draw reasonable conclusions or outcomes. Hardly the skills one desires from a Secretary of State.

The bottom line is four Americans were murdered and Mr. Obama, Ms. Clinton and yes, Ms. Rice are all responsible for what happened and the aftermath. While I perceive Ms. Rice’s actions to at least be somewhat responsible, we still have two more of the prime suspects avoiding rightful blame and stonewalling anyone trying to get the truth.

This investigation should proceed until all the questions are answered for the American people and the families of our brave countrymen.

Marcus Traianus on December 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Nice fight you put up there, Rice. How strong, independent and courageous you are.

Sarah Palin: “quitter”; Susan Rice: “victim.”

I chortle at the bias.

Then again, her body, her choice, right libs?

Dion on December 14, 2012 at 1:00 PM